- What does co-parenting mean?
- What are the 3 types of co-parenting?
- What are co-parenting rules?
- How do you successfully co-parent?
- What are the benefits of co-parenting?
- How does co-parenting work in the UK?
It goes without saying that co-parenting can be stressful. Here is our GoStudent guide with tangible steps that you can implement with your co-parent, for a healthy and happy family.
What does co-parenting mean?
A modern-day term, the co-parenting definition usually refers to a post-divorce or separation dynamic where both parents continue to take part in their children’s upbringing as a joint unit. 🤝
Here, the child takes priority over the couple’s own relationship status with each other.
Another co-parenting meaning is when two people who want to have a child together but don’t want to be in a romantic relationship. Together they agree that they will co-parent this child.
For the purpose of this article, we will refer to the former co-parenting definition.
What are the 3 types of co-parenting?
Co-parenting defined according to distinctive parenting styles
👉 High Conflict Co-parenting
These co-parents usually have a dysfunctional relationship. They are constantly reactive with each other, emotional and aggressive. Screaming that involves verbal abuse and blame between them is common.
These co-parents have not resolved their relationship issues and continue to find fuel from past arguments and grievances. 🤯
They don’t have a healthy way of communicating and need third-party intervention like lawyers, friends and family members to talk to each other.
Much like helicopter parenting, this is a parenting mistake. Which is damaging for both the parents and kids involved. 💔
What is the difference between co-parenting and parallel parenting?
👉 Parallel Parenting
This is the kind of parenting that most couples choose as it is easy to implement. Here the two parents might not particularly like each other but are able to maintain civility for the sake of the children.
Parents don’t have conversations about parenting their kids or any other personal exchanges.
Usually, for any changes between their set parenting plan, co-parents here need to give each other formal notice and agreement.
It is highly recommended that couples practising high-conflict co-parenting, switch to parallel co-parenting. ✊
👉 Cooperative And Collaborative Co-Parenting
This is the most ideal form of co-parenting.
It is built on the foundation of mutual respect, healthy communication and collaborative parenting. For parents to reach this point after a separation is difficult and requires deep conflict resolution with forgiveness.
One way to reach this healthy co-parenting style is through “ ‘conscious uncoupling’ – the ability to understand that every irritation and argument within a relationship was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing.
When we understand that both people in the relationship are actually partners in each other’s spiritual progress, animosity dissolves much quicker... It’s only under these circumstances that loving co-parenting can happen.”
Raising a child as a single parent can be difficult. That is why cooperative and collaborative co-parenting can help parents be more stress-free.
Moreover, this style of co-parenting is extremely beneficial for children.
Kids imitate the patterns and behaviours of their parents well into adulthood.
So having healthy parenting will help them succeed in cultivating good social skills and successfully managing conflict in their interpersonal relationships.
What are co-parenting rules?
There are no set co-parenting rules. They depend on where the co-parents involved are in their journey of healing, forgiveness and acceptance for each other. Accordingly, they will set flexible or rigid co-parenting rules for themselves.
How do you successfully co-parent?
👉 Heal yourself
Parents need to heal from the pain of their separation before they can successfully co-parent. 😢
They need to take time and support to self-reflect on their role in the separation. If they don’t do that they will continuously be hurt and bring this personal bitterness to co-parenting.
In this situation, they will find themselves predisposed to picking fights with their ex leading to high-conflict co-parenting.
Though if you have taken care of your mental health and are more at peace with yourself, you will find it easier to be more patient with your co-parent.
External support like counselling, meditation, and spending more time in nature are some of the ways that can help you heal. 🙂
Some days can be harder than others when you might simply be exasperated by your ex-partner or spouse. On those days try and remember their better qualities – the ones you deeply loved once. ❤️
A bit of gratitude on some days can make all the difference for successful co-parenting!
Communication is the key to healthy relationships.
Of course, there will be situations of disagreement with your ex-partner while co-parenting. If you think the issue is volatile or might result in an outburst, schedule a place and time to meet your co-parent. Don’t showcase it in front of the kids – just like you wouldn’t if you were still together.
Children relate their self-esteem to their parents. Seeing their parents disrespect each other can induce them with guilt and make them feel unloved.
On the other hand, kids being able to see their parents resolve conflicts with each other in a respectful manner can be helpful for strengthening their own relationships.✊
👉 Remain the parent
While this might seem obvious, many times without the presence of their adult partner, single parents might start treating their kids like adults.
This means discussing adult issues with them like money, their mental health and even the struggles of co-parenting.
This can have adverse repercussions on kids’ psyche. Leading them to feel guilt-ridden, anxious and depressed. 😢
Kids need parents to make them feel independent but equally safe and supported within their role as a child.
👉 Connect with a support network
Co-parenting is arguably even more difficult than parenting.
Some days it can feel like you are all alone with your frustrations and struggles. You don’t have to be.
Seek a trusted and level-headed friend who can give you objective advice or a trusted member of your support network. You need someone to be your soundboard when you feel overwhelmed. 💪
Here are some support groups for co-parenting:
What are the benefits of co-parenting?
The benefits of successful co-parenting for kids are:
- Increased sense of emotional security and self-worth
- Less stress, anxiety and guilt
- Positive experiences of respectful problem solving
- Harmonious and respectful relationships with both parents
The benefits of successful co-parenting for adults are:
- Support in parenting
- Reduced conflicts in parenting
- Chance for reconciliation and healing in the relationship with ex-spouse/partner
How does co-parenting work in the UK?
As is often the case with family law, each co-parenting case is open to interpretation in court. Though you can find some of the latest legislative guidelines on co-parenting in the UK here.